At a time in the major leagues where the words “medication” and “baseball” don’t mix, Zack Greinke is an exception.
After walking away from baseball in 2006, Greinke returned with help from the medication Zoloft, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant, which helps to alleviate Greinke’s social anxiety disorder and depression. With the medication, Greinke returned to baseball and won the 2009 American League Cy Young Award and signed a record-breaking $147 million deal to pitch for the Dodgers.
“The medicine is the greatest thing ever,” said Greinke, addressing the issue publicly for only the second time since his diagnosis. “The only problem is that I feel it makes me a little tired, that’s the only complaint. It’s amazing. I wish I had known about it before. I didn’t know there was anything for that. I don’t know why I didn’t figure it out. I guess I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with me. But there was.”
In an interview with Ken Gurnick, a reporter for MLB.com, Greinke shared how he didn’t realize that the anxiety he used to feel going to the park every day was due to anxiety and depression, if he did he would have fixed it a lot sooner. He also shared that he still feels uncomfortable if recognized on the street, which he hopes won’t be a problem in a city as big as Los Angeles. Greinke admitted that he actually looked into commuting from the beach to Dodger Stadium by helicopter, only to find that that’s not an option.
Don Mattingly, Dodger’s manager, commented about Greinke, expressing that he is not one bit concerned.
“After meeting him over the winter, I feel like this is a non-issue,” Mattingly said. “He’s up-front with how he deals with it. He doesn’t stay to himself as much as you think. He’s a baseball junkie — it’s pretty amazing really. I think he’ll fit in fine with the guys. It takes all types. Some are funny, some are loud, some are quiet. It takes all types to make a club.”
Greinke looks at the upcoming season with hopeful and competitive eyes. He shared that he’s “not ashamed of anything,” and he wants to play to see what he can accomplish. The medication helps him, which in the long run will help the Dodgers succeed in the 2013 season.